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Ludwig Cancer Research expands presence in Lausanne

Jun 11, 2015

Immunotherapy focus builds on Ludwig research and clinical expertise

June 11, 2015 – New York, NY and Lausanne, Switzerland – Ludwig Cancer Research announced today that it is opening a new Branch in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Branch will be focused primarily on applied cancer immunology and the design of novel molecular and cell-based immunotherapies. It will also develop technologies enabling the efficient, safe application of those therapies to as many patients as possible.

Ludwig Lausanne will be based at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), and operate in close collaboration with the new Swiss Cancer Center Lausanne (SCCL), a multi-institutional partnership involving the CHUV, UNIL, the ISREC Foundation and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

The Lausanne Branch, which will receive very generous support from the Canton of Vaud, builds on a longstanding Ludwig research presence in the city. It will enhance the organization’s leadership in immuno-oncology, a field in which Ludwig has played a pioneering role over several decades and that it continues to advance today. Ludwig’s expanded presence is driven by the high priority that its Swiss partners are giving to state-of-the-art cancer research and care in the region. This is demonstrated by their current and planned investments in cancer programs and infrastructure.

Our shared vision for the new Branch is to cultivate a blend of academic and entrepreneurial cultures. Ludwig Lausanne will initially establish a world-class scientific team through the creation of the Ludwig Human Tumor Immunology Discovery Engine in close connection with the CHUV. Researchers there will focus on studying the human tumor microenvironment, dissecting the cellular and molecular determinants of immune responses to human tumors and developing new molecular and cell-based approaches to cancer immunotherapy.

The Branch will also work closely with Geneva institutions and establish operations at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and EPFL’s cancer and bioengineering research programs to develop the next generation of immune engineering technologies. In addition, significant investments by the Canton and the CHUV dedicated to establishing state-of-the-art clinical facilities, including a world-class manufacturing facility for the safe, swift manipulation and growth of immune cells, will enable a strong focus on the rapid clinical translation of novel therapies.

“We are in the middle of a revolution in cancer care,” said Ludwig Scientific Director Sir David Lane. “Researchers continue to devise and develop a variety of new immunotherapeutic strategies, including more personalized approaches using cell-based technologies. I have no doubt that by working closely with all our partners in the Swiss Cancer Center Lausanne, and by harnessing the expertise of our global network of researchers, this Branch will help alter how cancers are treated not only in the Canton of Vaud and the Swiss Federation, but around the world.”

“We could not have chosen a better partner than Ludwig Cancer Research to advance our plans for making Lausanne a leading center for cancer research,” said Pierre-Yves Maillard, President of the State Council of the Canton of Vaud.

George Coukos will become the Director of the Lausanne Branch. A researcher and a clinician, Coukos is recognized internationally for his contributions to tumor immunology in general and the development of new immunotherapies for ovarian cancer. His experience in both basic research and clinical trials will be invaluable to the efforts of the Branch to conduct rigorous basic and applied research and to develop systems to streamline personalized immunotherapies.

“We are appreciative of the support and leadership provided by the Canton, UNIL and the CHUV, and enthusiastic about what we can accomplish together with all our local and regional partners at Ludwig Lausanne,” said Coukos. “Working together, we can establish the facilities we require to achieve our ambitious goals. As important, we can be connected to world leaders in immunotherapy and cancer immunology at Ludwig Branches and Centers around the world. It is an honor to be part of such a comprehensive effort to make the promise of immunotherapy a reality for more patients.”

About Ludwig Cancer Research

Ludwig Cancer Research is an international collaborative network of acclaimed scientists that has pioneered cancer research and landmark discovery for more than 40 years. Ludwig combines basic science with the ability to translate its discoveries and conduct clinical trials to accelerate the development of new cancer diagnostics and therapies. Since 1971, Ludwig has invested more than $2.5 billion in life-changing science through the not-for-profit Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the six U.S.-based Ludwig Centers.